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Free Content Skin disorders among travellers returning from tropical and non‐tropical countries consulting a travel medicine clinic

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Objective  To evaluate the causes and risks for imported skin disorders among travellers.

Methods  Data of 34 162 travellers returning from tropical and non‐tropical countries and presenting at the outpatient travel medicine clinic of the University of Munich, Germany, between 1999 and 2009 were analyzed for this study. Of these, 12.2% were diagnosed with skin disorders.

Results  Main destinations visited were Asia (40%), Africa (27%) and Latin America (21%). Tourism in the form of adventure travel/backpacking (47%) and package holidays (23%) was the most common purpose of travel. The leading causes of skin disorders were arthropodal (23%), bacterial (22%), helminthic (11%), protozoan (6%), viral (6%), allergic (5%) and fungal (4%). The 10 most frequently diagnosed specific skin diseases associated with specific destinations were insect bites (17%, Southern Europe), cutaneous larva migrans (8%, Asia and Latin America), cutaneous leishmaniasis (2.4%, Mediterranean Region/Middle East), dengue fever (1.5%, Asia), rickettsioses (1.3%, Southern Africa), myiasis (0.8%, Central America), filarioses (0.7%, Africa), tick bites (0.6%, Central/Eastern Europe), schistosomiasis (0.6%, Africa) and tungiasis (0.6%, Africa). Travellers in sub‐Saharan Africa had the highest relative risk of acquiring skin disorders.

Conclusion  As more than 20% of all skin disorders among returned travellers were caused by arthropods and about 50% by infectious pathogens, pre‐travel consultations should include specific prophylaxis and consider the most important risk factor for the travel destination.

Language: English

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine, University Hospital, Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich, Germany

Publication date: 2011-11-01

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